Books to Change A Life

Facebook reminded me that I’d listed Ten Books that Changed My Life. The list is still reasonably accurate.

10 Books That Changed My Life. +1 to go to 11

Apologies to the books and authors not mentioned here that also changed my life. And all the books I’ve loved to read and would happily re-read.

In roughly chronological order:

Tassajara Cooking, The Tassajara Bread Book – Edward Espe Brown
Somewhere in these books is a suggestion to learn a recipe by preparing it a number of times leaving out a different ingredient each time.
I can’t find the passage anymore. These changed my approached to food as my teen years were ending.

The Daybooks of Edward Weston – Edward Weston
While flailing about with no clear direction Weston provided inspiration. I set off on a path for many terrible reasons, but I did set and pursue
a goal.

The Log from the Sea of Cortez – John Steinbeck
If only for “A Parable of Laziness” which is a great telling of Bogle’s “Don’t just do something, stand there” dictum. Also for the exploration and life example.

Visual Anthropology: Photography as a Research Method – John Collier Jr.
While in Art school John Collier provided a counter point to all the other lessons. He also provided the strongest “no bullshit” approach to work students brought in while still maintaining the respect for their largely illiterate efforts. This is the only book on the list where its reading was supplemented by interaction with the author.

A Movable Feast – Ernest Hemingway
Hunger is Good Disciple and a wonderful potato salad recipe. This is also a stand in for the rest of Hemingway that I admire.

A Pattern Language – Christopher Alexander and Sara Ishikawa
During my longest period of unemployment I found this gem. After getting a job I bought it. My views of architecture changed.

Learning Perl – Randal L. Schwartz, brian d foy, Tom Phoenix
A weekend to work through every exercise in this book changed the course of my career.

Alternative Presidents – edited by Mike Resnick
The day I met the woman who would become my wife I used a reference to this book as a conversational gambit. We continued to talk.

If On A Winter’s Night a Traveler – Italo Colvino
Maddening, frustrating, and not a novel as we know them. It is ultimately fulfilling.

Practical Ethics – Peter Singer
I can neither refute or live by his ethical arguments. So I remain inspired to keep trying.

#11 Because you can’t just crank it up to 10.
Years of Rice and Salt – Kim Stanley Robinson
Let’s explore reincarnation, history, and spirituality.

Apologies to Twain, Rickenbacher, Tolstoy, Harte, Truss, Hammett, Thompson, Kundera, Dick, Agee, Evans, Brautigan, Buck …